BTCC: Knockhill Racing Circuit: Neal wins as disaster hits Turkington

Honda's Matt Neal wins dramatic BTCC Knockhill opener as championship leader Colin Turkington spins out and retires.
Honda's Matt Neal has taken his first BTCC victory since Croft last season in an utterly spectacular Knockhill opener as disaster hits championship leader Colin Turkington.

In what started as a relatively routine touring car race the Knockhill opener flicked into hyper mode from lap 10 onwards as two of the leading championship contenders, Turkington and Andrew Jordan both suffered a massive dent in their title ambitions.

MG's Sam Tordoff had brilliantly controlled the opening segment but as the laps dragged on the chasing pack gradually inched closer to the Triple Eight machines rear end, resulting in a leading five-car train with the main challenge firstly coming from Audi's Rob Austin.

As the pack concertinaed Austin's Audi was then spat out of the group and dropped to fifth in front of MG's Jason Plato, who in turn was backing up a colossal multi-car queue as the KX Clubcard driver ferociously defended from Mat Jackson and Turkington.

Meanwhile, back at the front of the pack, as Tordoff's race began to dwindle, home favourite Gordon Shedden, after demoting Jordan earlier in proceedings was then re-passed by the reigning champion for second place. But as the Civic Tourer fought back the pair clashed which sent Shedden rewards into the helpless Pirtek Honda.

Shedden re-gathered control after Neal and Austin elevated themselves to second and third but Jordan's race ended on the spot with broken rear suspension.

While that occurred, Plato's near heroic effort to keep his MG in the mix (now a battle for fifth) eventually combusted as after Turkington had finally made a way past the MG6, he then made an error in turn one which put the eBay man out of position for the following corners.

A resulting tap from Jackson's Focus into Plato's car rotated the MG's front end into Turkington's rear end, agonisingly sending the BMW into a helpless spin.

Up front, Neal on the soft rubber demoted Tordoff to second for the race lead just seconds before the safety car was bought into play thanks to Turkington's stricken BMW.

Amazingly despite everyone's dramas, Austin and Shedden completed the podium after the pair had both left the circuit in one way or another.

Jackson was fourth for Airwaves while Plato somehow managed to salvage a top-five finish.

Mercedes' Adam Morgan picked his way through the chaos from 18th to sixth in front of Speedworks' Tom Ingram who climbed the order in a similar fashion to finish seventh.

Aron Smith, Dave Newsham and Nick Foster all rounded out the top ten in eight, ninth and tenth.

Tagged as: Honda , Knockhill , Matt Neal

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Matt Neal (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic Tourer
Sam Tordoff (GBR) Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport
Sam Tordoff (GBR) Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport
Ashley Sutton (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6
Jeff Smith (GBR) Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R
Aron Smith (IRL) BKR Volkswagen CC
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R
Gordon Shedden (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R
Jason Plato (GBR) Subaru Team BMR Subaru Levorg GT
Matt Neal (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R
Matt Neal (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R
Matt Neal (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R
Matt Neal (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic Type R
Adam Morgan (GBR) WIX Racing Mercedes A-Class
Adam Morgan (GBR) WIX Racing Mercedes A-Class
Alex Martin (GBR) Dextra Racing with Team Parker Ford Focus
Daniel Lloyd (GBR) Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R
Tom Ingram (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis

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